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Shipping Costs US -->> UK

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by NoFret, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. NoFret


    Feb 15, 2003
    East Sussex , UK
    Thinking about spreading my GAS worldwide .....anyone know a ballpark figure of how much its costs to get a bass shipped over to UK from USA? :D

  2. Eeeeeeeeeeexpensive I'd guess.

    Why not try getting it from Europe? The shipping would be much cheaper? Wouldn't it?

    (I'm posting so I can keep an eye on this, I'm interested in doig the same, mostly with cabinets though.)
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I tried an EA VL208 in Bass Central. Beaver was kind enough to do the figures and the shipping, VAT and import tax wiped out the saving more or less. I did mail order some pickups from them. If its hardware or strings it's worth it.
  4. NoFret


    Feb 15, 2003
    East Sussex , UK
    That's along the lines of what I was thinking...The higher spec bass in US seem to be going for a lot less that they would cost here to buy........More variety too...... could be worth it i reckon :cool:
  5. NoFret


    Feb 15, 2003
    East Sussex , UK
    Let me clarify what I mean ......The price/availability of basses in US would possibly outweigh the cost of shipping .........If I knew what the cost of shipping was LoL :bassist:
  6. Molloy


    Dec 6, 2002
    Paris, France
    I examined the possiblity of getting a bass from the US, and while shipping costs are low enough to make it interesting ($100-$150 depending on speed, insurance, and company) the VAT and custom taxes kill the deal: a flat 30-35% markup to your US bill is a realistic figure, and there is no way the package would get past the customs' prying eye. So I got my bass in Europe...

    However, if you're interested in mid-to-high end instruments that local luthiers cannot provide, it might be worthwhile to place your order from the UK, hop onto one of these ultra-cheap, last-minute flights to New-York (you can easily find some in the $200-$250 price range, not including airport taxes), shop in flesh, and come back as a musician carrying his or her business tool. That would make for a memorable shopping trip, to boot. :cool:
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree with Molloy - it isn't the shipping costs that make the deal uneconomical, it is the VAT, Customs Duty etc. that add to the cost.

    I buy individual string sets from the US which are about half price even allowing for shipping - but that is because the US shops put on a customs sticker which states that they are worth less than $30 (approx) and then they don't get opened. But anything bigger than this will be opened and charged - certainly the case for a bass!! :(

    Somebody here mentioned how they got charged a large amount for parts they ordered fro a Rickenbacker and I once ordered a CD from the US and got charged an extra £12 in customs duty, which virtually doubled the cost!!
  8. Shipping is about $100 , insurance $10 , I know you "might" get hit for VAT 17.5% but what is the import duty ?

    Even with shipping and VAT I think there may be some deals to be had.

    Your biggest problem is going to be trade agreements , I know that most of the major instrument retailers like "Musicians Friend" will not ship any Fender instruments outside the US , you will have to find a "friendly" dealer first and then do your sums :)
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's right - I swapped PMs with Gard about shipping instruments from US to UK - I think Bass Central are the experts at this! ;)

    But generally when you add everything in, then it is about the same as if you bought it at a shop like the Bass Centre in the UK. So I bought my EAVL208 from Overwater and the big selling point for me was interest-free credit - not usually available if you are buying from the US.

    Given that you are also relying on the item getting through "unscathed" - when most cargo loaders ar not going to treat anything differently ;) _ I decided that a very minimal saving in the end, was not worth the risk that your instrument may well be damaged in the long journey - I think Anders Ostberg has good experience of this - he has had a bass arrive damaged but has also has a safe arrival?

    I think the point is that you have to watch out for bargains and usually the only way to get anything cheaper is if it is a good used one - but you can see these in the UK just as much as in the US.

    So - I bought my pre-Gibson Tobias at the London Bass Centre for a reasonable price and I have looked at ads for similar basses in the US and they are no cheaper, allowing for currency conversion.
  10. I just checked on the HM Customs and Excise site , you DO have to pay VAT but import duty is from 0% to 85% depending on what it is and where it comes from.

    I looked up the codes and as far as I can tell Stringed musical instrument from the US are 0% :)

    ......which is nice :D
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Very difficult - there are different rates applied for different types of goods and between differnet countries.

    The other thing is that UK customs will also make a charge on top of this for their time and effort if they have to open something to determine the rate of duty!!

    I think that adding everything together - you have to allow for 30-50% on top of the price you are quoted - not forgetting the strong £ and fluctuating exchange rates!! :eek:
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well that is definitely wrong - as I know people who have imported basses have been charged this!!
  13. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    17.5%VAT and 3% import tax

    Let's do some conservative figures

    Let's say a £1000 bass is $1000 using 1.59 thats

    £628 and lets guess shipping to be $60 which is
    £037 and VAT is
    £110 and import tax is
    £018 so our £1000 bass actually costs

    so our saving is £207, but my guess at shipping is light and the exchange rate is good. Whe I bought my pickups from bass central they took my credit card details when I ordered the goods and took the money from my account when I received them. Because of various problems the order took 3 months. The exchange rate could drop in the time taken to complete the transaction.

    Finally you will not get support/warranty on a 'grey import'. Warranty is with the vendor. So if the bass develops a problem it's back off to the US of A.

    If you have £800 for a bass then I suggest that you could find the extra £200 as people who spend this sort of money on 'entertainment' are not paupers. (sweeping generalisation).

    PLease note that the detail in my post can be picked apart but the general idea is 'take off your rose coloured glasses and think about importing long and hard before you do it'.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There are lots of other benefits to buying at a good UK shop like the Bass Centre (apart from 0% credit - which is my big one!) - so I have had free setups from the Bass Centre on basses - they even sent me a string for my EUB which they took off a bass in stock! Chris - the tech there, gave me a special spanner which helps adjust the truss rods on my Tobias bass, etc etc.

    CS hasn't added in the Customs charge for opening an item - which may or may not happen - and I have seen $200 quoted for shipping a bass!! :eek:
  15. Hi guys.

    I have just recently looked into this.
    Chris (CS) has the numbers right. VAT=17.5%, Import tax = 3%. However both are calculated on the TOTAL cost of goods coming in, INCLUDING shipping. Shipping from Bass NW to the UK was quoted as $175.

    Some retailers are helpful in arranging for shipping and providing supportive documents for import which will make your life easier. ;) Know what I mean???

    I agree with the statements below that when you get down to it the saving may not be as great as you might hope. However it seems that our friends in the US tend to have a wider selection available than us here in the EU. The grass may just appear to be greener... Having said that, check out The Bass Gallery and the Bass Centre in the UK, www.taranaki-guitars.de and www.musik-produktiv.de in Germany. EU shipping must be cheaper and less stressful than transatlantic.

    My option (as per the thread on transporting basses on aircraft) was to get the bass shipped within the US ($45) to a friend who was happy to recieve and hold it, then get a colleague to pick it up this week when he's in the US on business. We still have the import tax and duty, which I've calculated will work out somewhere in the £100 region, but I still consider it a good deal.
  16. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    MKS, please let us know how your friend gets on bringing over that GT-7.

  17. One way or another though either Fender UK or the British government are ripping us off , again :( , I wonder what prices are like in the US for British gear , how much say is an Ashdown EVO 500 in the states , £999 retail here though I have seen them advertised as low as £800
  18. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    There is a Tuner/Metronome made by Fender that I'm interested in getting (the MT-1000).

    I've seen it available on Musicians Friend for $35 (that was a sale, I believe the regular price is $50). The price I was quoted for buying it over here was over £70! :eek:
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Not at all - the thing is that the £ is very strong against the dollar which is bad for us - if we were in the Euro, things like basses would probably be cheaper and we would have one European market with transparent prices, across the whole market.

    Still that's one thing; there is the VAT thing which is Europe-wide anyway - plus the shiipping costs still have to be taken into acount for any importers. Retailers have costs like property, staff etc and thay have to make a profit. The standards of living is higher in the UK so all those things are higher.

    I think it's very naive to say we're being "ripped off" - retailers would like to reduce prices - they would sell more!! But they can't just "waive" all these expenses or they would go bust and then we would not be able to get US-made basses at all!! :(
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    "Musician's Enemy" don't ship to the UK!!! :rolleyes:

    But I bought a tuner from :


    - look in their musician's store - they have a fairly big range at good prices and are very reliable! I get all my strings from them.

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